Saturday, March 30, 2013


Back around July 19th last year, there was a massive eruption of an undersea volcano in the Pacific Ocean, several hundred kilometres north-east of New Zealand. The eruption occurred near the Kermadec Islands, which belong to New Zealand.
No one was aware of the volcanic activity until the raft of pumice stone was photographed by a lady on a commercial flight about 12 days later. Even then no one took much notice until a New Zealand Defence Force Orion aircraft, returning from patrol in Samoa, spotted an enormous raft of the grey volcanic stone. It has been described as being the size of Belgium or Israel, several hundred square kms in size.
There had been evidence of some seismic activity in the area at the time, and examination of satellite imagery confirmed the location of the volcanic activity.

The eruption was sufficiently forceful to spill lava up to the surface 1100 metres above the crater! Thank goodness it did not happen on land!
Pumice is formed when the lava, containing airbubbles, cools so quickly that it remains very porous, and therefore very light. It poses no danger to shipping.

 In late February, some of the pumice found its way right here to Norfolk Island and was washed up on the beach in enormous quantities, with still more remaining bobbing about on the waves. 
Most pieces were golf and tennis ball size, although some were larger. Evidently the scientists who first started investigating the phenomenon found beach ball size pieces.
There were a number of expeditions down to Slaughter Bay around that time, with people seizing the opportunity to get something for nothing!

 Our little haul was placed in a bowl in the main bathroom.

 It sits here waiting for someone with rough skin on their feet, meanwhile providing a great natural decoration!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Last month my faithful old Pfaff decided to throw a tantrum, so I decided, a little impulsively, that she would be replaced. Because I am rather lacking in imagination, it had to be another Pfaff, and with Charles' help. a new model was ordered from the Craft Depot in Sydney.
 Last Monday "she" arrived, and there was all the excitement of unpacking on the front verandah.

 Nearly there!

Lots of accessories to get familiar with!
 Here she is at last! I have decided to call her Clarice. Why? No idea, but perhaps Clarice Pfaff reminds me of Clarice Cliff, that wonderful porcelain artist, and maybe I am expecting similar levels of creativity. I thought giving here a name would increase the chances of a harmonious working relationship
The first project I tackled was a collage that I have been planning for a while.
Now I confess that for the first hour or two I was comvinced I had bought a "lemon." Clarice was making all sorts of funny noises, and did not behave or conduct herself anything like Old Faithful. But we soon sorted out our differences
This is the collage, although you cannot see much of the actual machine stitching.
I am a little disappointed. My eye is not as straight as it used to be, but perhaps no one will notice the lack of symmetry in some areas.

I am also a little disappointed with the colours. I felt very adventurous producing the picture of "Devon" in the greeny-yellow colours, but it has not quite "gelled." I am, however, happy with the way I have layered the lace pieces, and want to do lots more of this sort of thing. 
One reason is that I seem to have about fifty picture frames (from Op shop and garage sales etc.) that I need to recycle, because they are clogging up the hallway cupboard!
Looking forward to working on lots more projects with Clarice. I have found she does a beautiful even satin stitch, but cannot show you a photo because it is on my Ipad and I could not  get it to open on this PC.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


It was Bernie's birthday last week, and we had decided to celebrate it along with John Bani, who is the son of our friends Del and Alan. John was turning nineteen, and Bernie ....well, a little older than that ....65 years in fact.
The Ni-Vans (Vanuatans) had prepared some food in the ground oven at the Nakamal. and some of those who arrived early went up to see them bring it out.

Wrapped in palm leaves, the food consisted of kumera, taro, pumpkin, cabbage, onion, beef ribs and chicken pieces, beautifully seasoned and smothered with coconut milk. 

 We had a lot of Bernie's extended family to join us in what was a beautiful friendly evening.
 But the ones weho enjoyed it the most - and added a great deal to the happiness of the occasion - were the children!
 Here are some of them lined up along the two long tables groaning with delicious foods.
 Nate was determined to enjoy himself to the max!
 And Bevenie enjoyed her ice cream too!
 George, wh has been a friend of us all for a long time, is chatting to Joanne and our John.
 Brandt provided some rough entertainment out on the lawn. Perhaps he had drunk too much kava to care about his back!!

 Below, three lovely girls (right to left)- Tina, Charlene and Del.... Tina is my niece, Australian born and now a true Norfolker with residential rights here, Charlene, whose home is in the Philippines but settling in really well to a different way of life here on the island, and Del, who came from Vanuatu to join the rest of her family less than 12 months ago, and really enriching our lives with her gentle ways and friendship. 
 And here are the birthday cakes - a magnificent chocolate one for John, and a giant cupcake made by our lovely daughter-in-law Kim (iced and decorated by the kids in Kim's kitchen that afternoon) for Bern.
 Del watches as Julie lights the candles.
 And we sang happy birthday to two special boys. This will be the last birthday John will have with his family for a while, as he is returning to Vanuatu at the end of the year to train as a chef.

 There is something about two year olds and birthday cakes - they are real magnet for little fingers....

Well, we all love birthday cake, don't we?? 
 Later all the little kids played happily together around the toybox - it was a very touching sight. Jasper had "retired" to the couch somewhat earlier, having attended two other birthday parties that day!!

 Nate stayed the distance  until nearly midnight, but finally gave in.
during the evening I managed to snap this picure in the dark ofChully, who has become a very special person to us. Along withAlan, he was responsible for much of the work that went into the Nakamal.

 It was so good to have Bern's cousin Marie join us for the evening. It was truly a lovely get-together!

What a memorable evening. About 50 people, from toddlers to oldies, including a good sprinkling of teenagers, and from different cultures, all  having a wonderful time together.We feel so blessed.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013


When we had our Southerncrosscrazies Retreat here the week before last, I was both surprised and delighted one morning when the girls presented me with a gift of a beautiful collection of needlework accessories. 

 It was a thank you gift from Faye, Alison, Joy and Arlene for hosting the Retreat at my place. First there was this absolutely stunning box, covered with the loveliest marine blue fabrics and featuring the most exquisite embroidery.

 The girls had managed to liaise about the gift through emails - remember they are living hundreds of kms apart! They chose colours and themes and worked independently on the separate items. What amazing teamwork!
 Inside the box there was this precious little needlebook.
 It came with  felt pages, plus a holder for a needlethreader - which Joy had noticed I needed!
 Then there was this very special scissor fob, with lovely beaded dangles.....
 It also featured this beautiful embroidery with threads and ribbons.
 Finally there was this big pincushion, with one of Arlene's grand beetles perched on top!! I think a CD was used to provide a firm base.

 I was quite overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness - especially as just before they gave it to me, I had been "tricked" into saying I was not really fond of those colours!!!
 But really, I never met a colour I did not like - and any colour looks great when it is in good company, and teaming this aqua blue with these lovely warm pinks, mauves, and oranges is just perfect.
 Don't you just love the beetle? Because Arlene had a definite aversion to cockroaches, and stamped on any of them that ventured near her foot, we decided this was a cockroach in drag/bling!!!

Thank you so much to Alison, Faye, Joy and Arlene - this will really cement my memories of a very happy week spent creatively with you all here on Norfolk Island.      


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